location-independent-business

in Digital Nomads, Location Independent

2014 What a year, What a Life.

January 2014

2014 was probably the craziest year in my life thus far. Breaking in the New Year by hitting the slopes at Snowshoe Mountain in Virginia was incredible. (My first time snowboarding/skiing)

snowboarding-snowshoe-mountain

Mike Amato and Luiz Skiing Snowshoe

I was also very happy in a new position, an SEO Analyst at Elite Strategies one of the top SEO firms in Florida and was loving everything about it, well the pay could have been better but I rationalized it with the experience I was getting.

Google Webmaster and Analytics access to 50+ sites in a broad spectrum of industries was magnificent.

My scheduled hours were 10-5 but the drive from Fort Lauderdale to Delray was a brutal 30-60 minutes on I-95, so I often stayed late to avoid rush hour and work on side projects.

I was paid $500 a week, The $500 a week was nothing compared to what I was learning, it was more than half a paycut of what I was making at my previous job at Catalogs.com but I had the opportunity to make residual commission on new accounts, 17.5% – 25% and I could always sell something I believed in, and I believe in SEO.

February

I’m still stoked about work, I’m learning new things everyday and loving what I do! This means I come in early, stay late, take out the trash, bring donuts, and keep a constant smile no matter what is thrown at me.

I believe that great people combined with a great the atmosphere is conducive to getting shit done and delivering results to clients so I wanted to lead by example.

There was also a hint of expansion and management opportunities so I wanted to be the obvious choice for management.

Ask any of my friends, I am on the computer 24-7 but I do like to enjoy adventures and rather buy experiences with my money NOT things. So when I brought on a new client to the company in February I rewarded myself with a cruise to the Bahamas.

cliff-jumping-bahamas

March

My lease is up! I had a fantastic 1 bedroom 1 bath apartment in Fort Lauderdale for $900 a month it was 1 mile from the beach and inside a plaza. I rented it out on Airbnb for $130 a night or $700 a week making and made $1300 in a few months! Yep that’s how I paid for my snowboarding trip in January.

fort-lauderdale-apartment gateway-shopping-center-apartment sunrise-federal

Even though the drive to Delray was far I loved Fort Lauderdale. The local spots, the vibe, the beach but mostly freediving the Oakland Ridges only a bike ride away. Yet I definitely didn’t want to sign a new lease. Especially when my landlord didn’t give back a $900 deposit thanks to WhiteyPaint and the notion that I wasn’t going to take them to small claims court. (I blame Mark Cuban)

So for $950 a month I rented the master bedroom in a house with 2 roomates on Broward BLVD and 95, further from the beach but walking distance from downtown and in the same neighborhood as the best craft beer bar in Fort Lauderdale. Riverside market.

The problem was the cost of living:

  • Rent – $950 a month
  • Utilities – $100 a month
  • Internet & Cable – $30 a month
  • Cell Phone -$60 a month

The good news was I paid off ALL my student loan debt! Student Loans

& my little sister turned 2, we are only 22 years apart!luiz-victoria

April

You’re probably thinking the same thing. How are you surviving ?

$2000 a month in fixed income from Elite + $275/month from 2 clients I brought in
$100/month from email marketing consulting.

$2375.. a month ok not bad considering 1/3 of the world lives on less than a dollar a day.

At 28,500 a year it’s $24,000 less than I made the previous year but I was learning tons, I was bringing more clients and I rationalized it as the money would surely come if I kept doing great work.

But than reality set in.

2375
– Rent
1425
-Utilities
1295
-Car Insurance
1145
-Car maintanence
1095
-Gas
945
-Food @ $20 a day
345
-Phone

Left with $285 a month, not a ton of money but I was constantly looking for new projects and clients and most of all I was still learning! I still found time for adventure and played my first game of frisbee gold and broke all the rules of the road with Critical Mass in Fort Lauderdale.

easterlin-park-frisbee-golfMay

The honeymoon stage was over. I started to hate coming into work, it felt as if I was wasting my time and becoming a robot, the problem was I loved the people. I worked with some really cool folks but it was not making sense. (Not about that paycheck to paycheck life)

I put in my 2 weeks, and started driving.

May 17th – August 26th

centenaro route

My original plan was to go to San Fran, and get a job in sales for a well funded startup. A Wikipedia conference led me north to New York, and thanks to some amazing friends I drove over 7,000 miles across the United States. Couch crashing, camping, and staying in hostels/motels.

During these 3 months I enjoyed my favorite things in the world.

  • Meeting likeminded friends and colleagues
  • Hiking, Camping, Hammocking, Cliff Jumping, Chasin’ Waterfalls
  • Working out of unique coffee shops and co working spaces

Wiki-Conference

luiz-appalachian-trail

gypsy-house-cafe pomodoroluiz-camping-nomad

cliff-diving-texas

greenbelt-austin-texas-hammock

camelback-mountain-arizona drip-coffee-arizonafour-peaks-hiking the-crack-arizona Roostercat-Coffee-Housemount-evans-hiking mountain-goat tar-creek-california runyon-california-hike blank-spaces-la

August 26th – November 15th

I could have been a lot better with my money while traveling but wanted to have fun. After a month in LA I sold my black Toyota Corolla to CarMax for $4000, paid off all my credit cards and bought a 1-way ticket to Bangkok.

Bkk was fun but WAY too much, I knew I wanted a quieter life in Chiang Mai, Living in Chiang Mai for 3 months was amazing and you can read more about how you can sell everything and move to Chiang Mai with less than $1,000 a month. (coming soon.)

Now most people following my Instagram would think it’s all fun and games but I worked harder than ever doing things that didn’t directly pay me but brought me clients, experience and knowledge.

I left Fort Lauderdale in May making $300 a month and grew it to over $2850 a month while I traveled. (My goal was $10,000)

December

Recapping my accomplishments, I am very proud of what I have done and though there is a ton of room for improvement and nothing is perfect, it’s done.

Because done is better than perfect

In 2014 I published 32 articles, summing up to 26,012 words, that were shared 1231 times. Some of my favorites were

I also learned that freelancing pretty much sucks just like having a 9-5. You have to handle EVERYthing, from new business to, execution to managing expectations and than you need to chase customers to get $$$.

Thus I started working on ways to build residual income.

  • I launched an eCommerce site dedicated to a product and community I LOVE – Hammock Town
  • Committed to the access over ownership lifestyle, taking Uber & Lyft, (over 30 times) riding bicycles, longboarding, walking and ride sharing to get to places.
  • Earned my scuba diving certification while in Koh Chang, Thailand
  • Released an eCommerce email marketing course with currently over 200 students.

Consulting is still my main source of income but 2015 is the year I build and grow sustainable businesses.

To all those that contributed to my 2014 I thank you so much. I am still convinced I have the best friends in the world.

What did you think about my year? What would you have done differently and more importantly how was yours?

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Luiz Centenaro

Customer Success Manager at Experiment Engine
Luiz is a CRO consultant, eCommerce Entrepreneur and Adventurer. You can follow Luiz on Twitter or Google +.

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